Ok, I have a swollen face. Well it was really swollen this morning. It’s gone down considerably. Things have improved a lot between Bill and myself. Last night I took a nap from 5:30 to about 10:00. Saw Bill and went to bed an hour later. So it was cool. Still have some ways to go but he’s working on it.
I haven’t had a cigarette in over 24 hours and that is an accomplishment. I do enjoy holding one, but no lighting. Holding one is enough. If I could get off cigarettes I would be impressed. The cigars are an occasional thing though.
I certainly don’t mind being around smokers and in midtown Manhattan, outside of most office buildings there are a lot of smokers mingling. The thing is I always liked smoking. I wanted to do it when I was just a kid. I was surrounded by smokers since most everyone smoked back then. It was alright. In junior and senior year of high school, we could smoke in out designated smoking area.
Smoking saved my butt also. In summer school between junior and senior year having cigarettes helped me win favor from the ‘cool’ kids so much so, that when the regular sessions began in the fall, I wasn’t picked on so much since the cool kids liked me. For my cigarettes of course. Having 2 parents that smoked made sure that I wouldn’t be out of cigarettes. I must have had my first cigarette when I may have been about 10 years old.
Johnny Serpone, a neighbor and I plotted out stealing a pack of cigarettes from his parents and riding down to Industrial Lane on a Saturday afternoon and have our first puffs. I barely had a puff before I was wracked with guilt and fear and rode my bicycle home, gulping in as much air and running to the kitchen faucet when I got home to drink as much water as possible.
At various points in my childhood I was hanging out with juvenile delinquent smokers. At the Boys Club which was supposed to be where boys could get away from bad influences, I went out of my way to find the bad influences. Also outside the VFW where my parents hung out. Found myself outside with some naer do wells sneaking illicit puffs. I was found out though, but I doubt my siblings remember.
Everyone smoked. It was everywhere. You could smoke in the bank, in the supermarket, movie theaters were great places to smoke. Hospitals, doctor’s offices, buses, trains, restaurants. They frowned on places of worship, though one had to wonder where they got the ashes for Ash Wednesday. Having a cigarette was a good way to meet people, and not just oncologists.
You could ask someone for a light, and perhaps strike up a conversation or more. Or when cigarettes were cheaper you could bum a cigarette from someone or they could bum from you. Nowadays, people offer you money for a cigarette, sometimes a quarter, but lately a dollar.
Me, I rolled my own. Sometimes people would ask for a cigarette and I would offer a ready rolled cigarette. More often than not they would refuse, proving that beggars could be choosers. So, it’s been over 24 hours, been holding a cigarette, not lighting it. Feels good just to hold it. I guess it’s like Baretta. All I need is a cockatoo. Or was that a typo?